THE intervention of the USA and its allies in Afghanistan may have been well intentioned but has been disastrous.
The consequence is that US allies will no longer support foreign adventures, no matter how well intentioned and regardless of their nature.
This is a disaster for the West and leaves the door open for a huge shift in global reach from Washington to Beijing.
There is no pulling back from that. Like it or not, it is a reality that the West needs to factor in going forward.
Calum I Duncan, Inverness.
LONG HISTORY OF AMERICAN INTERVENTIONISM
JOHN Cameron (letters, August 20) thinks that “the mission in Afghanistan was not to create a Jeffersonian democracy”. I disagree.
Our hapless Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, said on BBC Radio 4 that the aim had been to create a liberal democracy – an enormously ambitious task, and one unlikely to be brought to fruition by brute military force.
It took us hundreds of years to build our democracy, from Magna Carta to the Civil War and the suffragettes, and everything in between.
So how the US and UK hoped to transform Afghanistan, given the base it was starting from, in only 20 years is beyond me.
But this is the US all along. They think they can shape other nations in their image by propping up regimes of which they approve and toppling those of which they don’t.
They want governments to be capitalist and right-of-centre; anything remotely left-of-centre is labelled communist and must be destroyed.
In Vietnam, it was called the domino theory; the believe that, should the South fall to the North, then the rest of Southeast Asia would soon also be in communist hands.
It didn’t happen, and I was amused to see that the statue of Ho Chi Minh gazes down the main boulevard of the city named after him, formerly Saigon, with stores by Chanel, Gucci, Prada and the rest lining both sides.
President Salvador Allende in Chile was deemed too left-wing by the Americans, so he was deposed in 1973 and the brutal General Pinochet took over.
The US Marine Corps’ Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington has the unit’s battle honours carved into the base, among them Grenada 1983.
And then there’s Cuba: for over 60 years, the US has been trying to topple the Cuban regime by invasion, espionage, isolation and sanctions.
Their overt hostility hasn’t worked. Maybe they should have tried to engage and encourage economic development, in the hope that the changes they desire would be brought about by pressure from the inside, not from a foreign enemy the Cuban government can blame for all its difficulties.
The US thinks it can and should intervene anywhere in the world to create governments and cultures akin to its own.
But cultures are resilient, thank goodness. And one sure way to reinforce them is to blunder in, wreathed in ignorance, telling people that they’ve got it wrong, and you’re going to show them how to do it.
Doug Maughan, Dunblane.
MEMORIES OF SUBBUTEO
IT was interesting to see Chic Murray’s fingers indulging in a game of tabletop football (Remember When, August 17). I wonder how many young people still play the game?
At the age of 14 or so I was allowed into Len’s parents house one Saturday, with several of the neighbourhood laddies, to watch them playing Subbuteo, the table football game.
I knew then, and know still, nothing about football but was allowed to flick the little chaps about for a bit. It was fun, but one go was enough. I see that Subbuteo means a bird of prey related to the hobby (Falco Subbuteo).
I wonder if those young lads, Len and Ronnie and their friends, now old men are still alive and kicking or, if not kicking a ball, then flicking the wee footballers about?
Thelma Edwards, Hume, Kelso.
AN ITCH TO SEE THE LATEST FILM
THE photo of the Mayfair cinema (August 21) brought back memories of another cinema close by in Battlefield, called the Tonic . It specialised in screenings of old black-and-white horror films starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi in films about Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolf Man. As I recollect, rightly or wrongly, the Tonic was known as the cinema you itched to get into and scratched to get out of.
After it was closed down, I think it was reconfigured to become one of a number of primarily winter sports shops under the name of Ian Luke, a well-known sports personality at the time .
Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.
AJ CRONIN AND COMPANY
I WAS intrigued by Frank Dunn’s letter in praise of AJ Cronin (August 21).
While Cronin was certainly a popular author in his day, and is well worthy of greater recognition I am not quite so convinced by the claim that “His book sales were not surpassed [in a Scottish context] until JK Rowling”.
Edinburgh-born Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows is a perennial British favourite with worldwide sales in the multiple millions, while Cronin’s sales are surely only a fraction of those of Alistair MacLean.
David Gray, Glasgow.
AS a retired consultant physician, Frank Dunn is well qualified to appreciate the writings of AJ Cronin, whose novels reflected his working among those who suffered from the lack of ready access to medical care prior to the formation of the NHS.
Another novelist of the 1930s, whose experience of life and suffering, gained from practising as a physician, is the late Somerset Maugham.
His mother gave birth to him in the British Embassy in Paris so that he could claim British nationality, and hence become ineligible for military service with the French.
It is unfortunate that Maugham’s novels have tended to fade from the scene,as many of the tribulations experienced by the characters in his stories exist to this day.
Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.